Capital Equipment News

In a fundamental change in approach that defied the conventional ‘bigger is always better’ mentality, PPC Slurry took a decision in 2015 to replace a fleet of its rigid dump trucks – a hauling solution it had run for over 100 years at its limestone operation – with four Scania mining tippers to load run of mine material from the face to the processing plants. Two years on, the decision is paying substantial dividends through several cost advantages, writes Munesu Shoko.

At the forefront of a paradigm shift

Change, in any form, is often difficult. Many businesses often find themselves resisting change, perhaps because of the perceived risk or fear associated with it. In mining and quarrying, tippers have always been regarded as ideal for light duty applications such as re-handling of ore and hauling of crushed material from the crushing plants to stockpiles. For long, tipper vehicles have been excepted from some arduous applications such as hauling run of mine (ROM) material from the rock face to the processing plants, where yellow metal haulers have always been the preferred solution over the years, especially reinforced by the ‘bigger is always better’ mentality.

For PPC Slurry, the decision to ditch its conventional yellow metal rigid dump trucks (RDTs) it had trusted for over 100 years to haul ROM material from the quarry face to the processing plants, and opting for Scania mining tippers for an application often regarded a no go area for this type of vehicles, called for a complete “paradigm shift”. “To change to Scania, after running a specific brand of RDTs for over a century, took a complete change of mind-sets for us as management, as well as our people,” says Andre Niemand, technical advisor: Mining at PPC Slurry.

Key considerations

Several factors were behind PPC Slurry’s big shift from conventional yellow metal haulers to Scania mining tippers. The unavailability of tyres for this range of RDTs became a turning point for an operation where downtime, due to any standing equipment, is out of question. Tyre companies that previously supplied tyres for this range of haulers had ceased to import them. Slurry started looking for alternative suppliers, but the TKPH of the alternative tyre range was very low, and during hot seasons, tyre bursts became the order of the day.

For an operation that has embarked on a major expansion programme, looking for a cost-effective hauling solution as part of the larger cost-cutting initiatives to support the financing of the project was another major driver towards Scania mining tippers at the expense of conventional yellow metal haulers. As part of its strategic approach that aims to double its business every 10 years through a diversified product and solution strategy, PPC recently invested a whopping R1,7 billion to upgrade Slurry’s Kiln 9, which is scheduled for its first clinker production at the start of 2018. The brownfield project, which kicked off in October 2015, will increase cement production at Slurry from 1,2 million tonnes per year (mt/y) to 1,9 mt/y.

To be able to finance such a capital-intensive project, a number cost cutting initiatives were identified. Transport – which accounts for a third or more of any mine’s operational costs – is often the biggest variable cost for any mining operation, but based on Niemand and his team’s understanding that hauling is also one of the operational processes where significant cost reduction is often possible, the company started to investigate a possible cost effective hauling solution. “We needed to look at something else. We decided on a construction-type of a vehicle, but one that would be able to carry larger payloads that we wanted to,” says Niemand.

Bauma ConExpo Africa 2015 lived to its billing as a perfect meeting point for equipment users and suppliers when a member of the PPC Slurry team stumbled upon Scania’s G410CB8x4EHZ mining tipper at the show, a vehicle optimised for quarry work and mining. After consultations with the Scania team, PPC Slurry eventually invested in a total of four Scania G410CB8x4EHZ mining tippers in 2015. Two years on, the range has ticked all the right boxes, all the way from productivity, versatility, through to lower fuel consumption and lower service and maintenance costs.

Massive gains

With its 2 x 900 kg front axles, a 32 000 kg Bogie GVM and a 50 t chassis, the Scania G410CB8x4EHZ has a payload of 32-33 t. “We are running four Scania mining tippers, giving us between 28-32 t of payload, depending on how we load,” says Niemand. Speaking of some of the key benefits of these trucks to date, Niemand tells Capital Equipment News that the current utilisation of the vehicles is about 83%, which is way more than the 72% world benchmark.

Another major advantage of using the Scania range of mining tippers is that they offer lower operating and capital costs. Service and wear parts are far cheaper than yellow metal haulers. “We are saving 20% on maintenance costs compared with the conventional range of haulers we used to run,” says Niemand.

From a service point of view, the trucks have a thorough 250-hour service regime. “Servicing is a very important aspect of equipment lifecycle. A well-maintained piece of equipment offers less downtime, higher productivity and lower operational costs. We recommended 250-hour service intervals because this is a dusty environment. Regular service intervals will help prolong the lifecycle of the vehicles,” says Ruben Govender, key account manager – Mining at Scania South Africa.

The truck’s lighter body translates into increased payload and lower fuel consumption. Massive fuel savings, as high as 50% compared with the previous range of conventional yellow metal haulers, are being realised at Slurry. The Scania mining tippers are hauling material from the face to the primary crushers at 2-3 km distances, achieving cycle times of about 13 minutes. Each truck is doing between 4-5 trips per hour, consuming 14-17 litres of fuel per hour, depending on driver behaviour.

To further increase productivity and enhance fuel savings, site optimisation is also a key focus for Niemand and his team. “To avoid unnecessary idling and standing time at the tipping point, we have created a Strategic Stockpile, where, in an event the driver comes to the tip and the robot is red, they can offload at the Strategic Stockpile instead. This prevents unnecessary idling time at the tipping area,” says Niemand.

From a capex point of view, gains are also massive. “When we calculated what it would cost us to buy a new conventional RDT and do three rebuilds over its 18-year lifetime, versus buying a Scania tipper and replace it every three years over the same 18-year period, figures showed that we would be able to save about R6 million,” says Niemand. This figure is still achievable when factoring in two bucket replacements within the three-year lifecycle. “We are looking at new, robust buckets of better quality than the ones we have at this stage. These will be able to last the entire three-year lifecycle, meaning that we will be able to save more.”

Strong relationship

For an uptime-conscious operation such as Slurry, Niemand reiterates that they have to depend on good and reliable aftermarket support to keep their equipment running at all times. A positive customer-supplier relationship begins with the initiative of the supplier to demonstrate their sensitivity to the customer’s needs. From the onset, Scania went the extra mile to understand Slurry’s operating conditions, its needs and potential solutions.

Niemand is very appreciative of the support offered by Scania, especially the regular visits by Govender and Charnie-Lee Kruger, key account managers: Mining at Scania South Africa. “We appreciate the service and support Scania gives us. They attend to any issues that we may have timely and they go the extra mile to make things work for us,” says Niemand.

Initially there were some challenges, which have been ironed out through the strong working partnership between Slurry and Scania. For example, in the first place, Slurry had some problems with a few add-ons such as the bucket and hydraulic systems.

“Scania was willing to take some of the cost to get these problems fixed. We realised that if a supplier was prepared to shoulder some of the cost on our behalf, then we would, on our part, stick with them,” says Niemand. “Scania showed us that they were prepared to invest in the success of their mining tipper in the local market. They made us part of their development process in the local market. We worked together closely and we have since prevailed over the initial challenges we had,” adds Niemand.

The relationship is blossoming and PPC Slurry has since placed an order of three more G410CB8x4EHZ mining tippers, and Niemand is prepared to invest in even more units in anticipation of a new offering expected to roll off Scania’s production line early next year. “We are definitely going to buy more Scania trucks once the new range becomes available,” says Niemand, who is looking at bumping up the fleet to about 10 units that will be able to put through a total of 1 100 t per hour through the crushers.

“Our association with PPC Slurry is more than just a customer-supplier relationship; it’s a partnership. We had some initial challenges which we ironed out together, and we continue to grow together as a team,” concludes Govender.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Email: capnews@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Email: elmaries@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

BANNER5

 
Full Name*
Invalid Input

Company Name*
Invalid Input

Your Email*
Invalid Input

Phone*
Invalid Input

Postal Address 1*
Invalid Input

Postal Address 2*
Invalid Input

Postal Code*
Invalid Input

Street Address 1
Invalid Input

Street Address 2
Invalid Input

Postal Code
Invalid Input

Town / City*
Invalid Input

Country*
Invalid Input

Magazine

Invalid Input

Invalid Input